The Place We're At Now: Port Townsend, Washington
Whenever we're back in the United States, this is where we stay.
This is a regular feature about where we currently are in the world: how we ended up there, what it costs, and exactly what we think.
Michael and I are currently back in the United States, just outside Port Townsend, Washington — across Puget Sound and up a bit from our hometown of Seattle. This old port town has a charming, historic downtown and a reputation for being very artsy and liberal.
Port Townsend is a popular weekend getaway from Seattle, with lots of quaint bed-and-breakfasts — not just the Airbnb ones, the actual kind where they really serve you breakfast.
The town has a vibrant arthouse cinema and bookstore scene, lots of lovely cafes and restaurants, and a zillion arts events and festivals. My favorite is its annual summer “kinetic sculpture race” — that is, a race of vehicles that must be both (a) a work of art, and (b) a human-powered, all-terrain vehicle able to move on land, and through water and mud.
Needless to say, this is a “race” that’s much more about the journey than the destination.
Michael and I are actually staying at Kala Point, which is a wooded development of houses and time-share units a few miles outside of town. It has various amenities like a clubhouse with a pool, sauna, and hot tub; tennis and pickleball courts; hiking trails; and a large “spit” of sand resulting in both a beautiful sheltered estuary and a surprisingly long and sandy beach.
Not far from Kala Point is the start of a fantastic paved biking trail that winds some 130 miles through forests and along beaches. And the area is also home to an endless number of incredible parks — like Olympic National Park, which is one of my favorite places in the whole world.
Here’s exactly where we are:
How Did We End up Here?
Back in the 80s, my parents bought a time-share condo at Kala Point. For that, they got the place for one week every three months — four weeks a year. I’ve been coming up here ever since I was a kid: first with my family, and later, on getaways with Michael and other friends.
For forty years, I’ve also been using the condo to host an old group of high school buddies, spending long weekends playing the role-playing game Dungeons & Dragons — something we still do whenever I’m in town. We’ll be battling orcs this week, in fact.
Michael and I have, of course, spent most of the last seven years traveling the world as nomads, but we try to return to the United States every year for at least a month. Since you can “bank” your weeks at the Kala Point time-share and exchange them with other owners, I save up our weeks throughout the year, then mostly use them all at the same time in the winter months when demand is usually low.
Where Are We Staying?
The time-share unit was state-of-the-art…in 1981. It’s now pretty dated. But it’s well-maintained and regularly updated — and let’s face it: I love all those amenities, especially the pickleball courts, and the hot tub and sauna, which are great in winter. The gym is mediocre, but it gets the job done.
I also love the easy access to Port Townsend and the many nearby outdoor recreational opportunities.
But more than anything, I love being so close to our family and long-time friends, who all live less than a two-hour drive — and/or a romantic ferry ride! — away.
The unit itself has a master and a guest bedroom, which means we can also host our friends, as well as a loft, which I always turn into an office where I can hole up to do our annual taxes and bang out some writing such as this essay.
What Does It Cost?
In the early 80s, my parents bought the time-share for $10,000 USD. It was, of course, a terrible investment: the units are currently valued at somewhere between $50 and a couple thousand dollars each. But I’m really happy they made the purchase, because I’ve had many wonderful times here. (The key to making a time-share work? Low costs and really easy access.)
For years, my father paid all the fees involved with the unit, and Michael and I gratefully spent time here rent-free, paying only the weekly clean fee (which is somewhere between $65 and $85, based on the size of the unit).
Last July, my father died, and my brother graciously gave Michael and me full ownership of the time-share. We now pay all the annual fees and taxes, which total around $2300 USD a year, or about $82 a night — which is fairly good for the Seattle area, especially for this much space and so many amenities.
And that cost is also tempered somewhat by the fact that by now, I have many unused weeks “banked” for winter use — and any unused future weeks can be easily be rented out. (Interested in renting it from us? See below.)
Whenever we’re back in America, Michael and I do have to rent a car. But since it’s the dead of winter, we’re only paying $482 for three weeks.
What Do We Think?
I’ve always had fond feelings for Kala Point, partly because it’s an objectively magical place, but mostly because of all the memories of good times with friends and family.
But since we’ve started nomading, a strange thing has happened: my feelings for the place have grown. The affection I feel for it is now basically off-the-charts.
For a while, I didn’t quite understand why I found myself practically on the verge of tears whenever I arrived — and again, after three or four weeks, when it was time to leave.
Then a few years ago, I realized: since I’m now living a life of continuous travel, this silly old timeshare condo at Kala Point is the closest thing I have to a permanent home.
But it’s okay. I could definitely do worse.
P.S. There is one tiny problem with the place. In winter, the area can sometimes be a bit cold.
Interested in Renting Our Unit?
Our Kala Point timeshare unit (2 bed/2 bath + loft) will be available for rent for the following weeks starting on Fridays: April 12, 2024 ($500/week + $75 cleaning fee); September 27, 2024 ($500/week + $75 cleaning fee); December 20, 2024 ($500/week + $75 cleaning fee).
Mention you’re a paid subscriber to Brent and Michael Are Going Places, and we’ll give you a $100 discount.
Contact me for more info: email@example.com
Brent Hartinger is a screenwriter and author. Check out my new newsletter about my books and movies at www.BrentHartinger.com.